Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sol Amigo, Kanda

The recently Asia-jet-setting friend formerly known as Preacher, or sometimes Cheese Farmer, is here on a business trip (which we hope will be a frequent event) and we went out to eat. I finally made good on my desire to drag someone up to Kanda at night! It's very bright and busy, but in a distinctly seedy way - lots of hostesses on the streets touting for clubs. A little sad, but at least they're not Nigerian like in 'Pong.

We dithered over a bunch of mediocre-looking izakaya before we saw a place that billed itself as a 'Mexican Izakaya', and Preacher couldn't go past it, and I was happy with it for comedy value since I assumed it would do little to shake my conviction that there is No Mexican Food In Tokyo (and no, I still haven't been to the place in Harajuku). The first of many funny quotes surfaced at that point, a variation on the standard "I'll get back on the diet tomorrow!". We sat on the second floor, which was small but still empty, and enjoyed the MTV Unplugged Greatest Mexican Hits that they were playing in HD Widescreen 5.1 on a massive plasma screen hung on the wall. Diverse, funny stuff. I especially like how Mexican artists are still quite close to roots music, so everyone thinks it's good to stick in a little acoustic flourish with some traditional instruments during their set, even if they're quite rock-y for the rest of it.

Regarding drinks, they have lots of Mexican beers for around Y700. While that's offensive if you consider the quality, you'll feel better when you think about the price of Mexican beers at other establishments, or in fact Belgian beer prices. They also have a healthy cocktail selection, so Preacher ordered up two frozen margaritas and we were off! Actually we weren't, because they couldn't make frozen margaritas, so we just had plan soda instead.

This was funny too - the waiter came back after a minute and told us (in oddly good English) that if we ordered one drink each, all food was half price. [I now see that this is their Gurunavi weeknight coupon offer as well.] Doesn't seem like a great proposition when a drink is the same price as two menu items, but that was their offer. Still, we were too let down by the lack of blender, and stuck with the water. The waiter brought it, and at the same time informed us that they were going to charge us Y350 for the water, but that all the food would then be half price, if that was OK. Errrrr, sure! Let me interject, the staff was extremely friendly and cheerful. It was nice just looking at them.

We ended up getting one of everything that looked palatable on the menu - burrito, tacos, chimichanga, avocado salad, fajitas, queso fundido, chorizo...It was all recognizably Mexican-influenced, some of it was good, and each was Y6-700. I liked the tortillas a lot (fresh and warm with several of the items), especially smeared with the baked cheese, various fajita bits, and a liberal slather of green Tabasco. I ended up using a LOT of that green Tabasco, now that I think about it. Nothing had the faintest hint of cilantro.

This did nothing to shake my conviction that there is No Mexican Food...etc., but I enjoyed it quite a bit, and the bill after discount was just over Y3000 for 4 soda-waters (from the gun, not bottled sparkling) and the 7 dishes above. Could have fed 4 smaller people, but not two huge foreign barbarians like us. Ha!

Sol Brutha numero uno
03-3256-2366

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